Friday, 21 September 2012

Oare Marshes 18-9-2012

Tuesday was another nice day so Alan and I visited Oare Marshes though the wind was quite fresh it was warm enough (for me) to spend most of the day jacketless. My recent lack of practice at photography tells in these shots for which I apologise. We started off taking a quick look out from the jetty which revealed very little except a single Curlew and a number of Black Headed Gulls, a look down the margin from the western path revealed some Mallards, Coots, Tufted Ducks a sole Dabchick keeping close to the reeds and a Snipe snoozing in the corner of one of the islands. 
Linnet - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

We headed up the main road noting that the New West Scrape was dry with only a few flies buzzing about the remaining small puddle. The East Flood was also low on water but this did not diminish the variety of birds there. A large flock of Bar Tailed Godwits with a few Redshank around the edges were in the distance whilst nearer to us on a dried patch was a significant number of Ringed Plovers with a Curlew Sandpiper preening itself in their midst.
Ringed Plover - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
A large flock of Golden Plovers (aprox 150) covered one island with a similar number of Starlings scattered around as were a large number of Lapwings. Dunlin were dotted about busily feeding as was a Little Stint, however soon after spotting it all the Starlings and Plovers together with the Little Stint took to the air and I never found it again. A scan of the skies revealed a Peregrine Falcon quite high, they must have been very vigilant to pick it out as I needed my binoculars to identify it.
Little Stint - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Other occupants of the flood included Mute Swans, Cormorants, Little Egrets and several Ruffs
Lapwings - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Seen from the roadway was this odd looking heron.

Heron - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

And then it closed its wings.

Heron closing wings - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
As we moved off towards the West Scrape a pair of Swallows flew through and a Goldfinch was seen in a nearby bush. The West Scrape was as usual relatively quiet with the only excitement a Hobby skimming fast and low over the reeds and disappearing behind the hide before I could point it out to Alan. In the distance a couple of Buzzards were over Mocketts, some young coots were in the water in front of us together with 4 Teal.
Starling - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

On the footpath to the East Flood Hide a Green Woodpecker flew out from our right. From the West Flood hide we had repeat views of a Curlew Sandpiper and excellent views of all the Bar Tailed Godwits among which a couple of Greenshanks were stood. There were about 70 odd Avocets in the flood and feeding along the far bank a pair of Spotted Redshank, the summer plumage still clinging to one of them. Occupants of the hide had been watching a Water Rail before our arrival but it did not appear for us.
Dunlin - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
We left and watched the butterflies and dragonflies around the water margin near to the hide. We were watching  a Small Copper, some Small Whites, and a Common Blue of the former and some Common Hawkers and a Common Darter of the latter when a gentleman called us back into the hide as a Water Rail had just reappeared, it was my first sighting of one this year and lovely to see as it walked along the waterline on the far bank too far away to photograph. It was very kind of those in the hide to consider calling us back.

Common Blue - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
The walk to the sluice was uneventful and we set up on the creek side of the flood to scour it from another angle but nothing new seen, however I looked over to where the Water Rail had been to see two Water Rails walking together which were then joined by a third – I was in seventh heaven, especially as one of them thought it best to walk in the sunshine avoiding the reeds all together.
Golden Plovers (from road) note summer plumage far right - Canon 400D + 100-400mm

The walk to the Sea Wall hide flushed out a solitary Long Tailed Tit, a pair of House Sparrows and a Linnet were seen in the various bushes whilst on the bank near the hide we saw a Pied Wagtail and some Reed Buntings. From the hide little was to be seen due to a very high tide however on the distant shore towards Seasalter were a large number of Oystercatchers. A check of Sheppey gave up a Marsh Harrier directly north of us.
Reed Bunting - Canon 400D + 100-400mm
Other birds seen were Carrion Crows, Wood Pigeons Collared Dove, and Herring Gull. A total of 42 for the days walk but for me the highlight was the three Water Rails. A final thank you to the person who found the lost eyecup to my telescope and put it on a post for me to find, I am very grateful.


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